“OVER my dead body, Andrew…”
Rory Kinnear as Barry Fairbrother in BBC1’s new three-part adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.
Jo Rowling’s first novel for an adult audience, published in 2012, became a global best-seller with over six million copies sold to date.
The 3 x 60 minute television adaptation, written by Sarah Phelps and directed by Jonny Campbell, begins on BBC1 at 9pm on Sunday Feb 15.
Set in what appears to be the idyllic English village of Pagford.
Those who have read the 500-page book will know that it deals with how we live today, including issues of community and responsibility.
Enid and Tubby (Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball)
“IT’S letting your dreams literally come true. Which is rather beautiful.
“Ordinary people being extraordinary.”
Imelda Staunton talking about the truly glorious
That Day We Sang, written and directed by Victoria Wood.
A TV musical drama destined to become an instant classic.
Screened on BBC2 at 9pm on Boxing Day – Friday Dec 26.
It stars Imelda as “PA not secretary” Enid and Michael Ball as insurance salesman Tubby, two lonely middle-aged people who grab a second chance of life via the power of music.
These fictional characters meet in 1969 at a reunion of the Manchester Children’s Choir which made the iconic million selling recording of Nymphs and Shepherds with the Halle Orchestra 40 years before.
The film moving between events in the late 1960s and the story of a young Tubby, whose real name is Jimmy Baker, and his difficult home life in 1929.
With Harvey Chaisty as the young Jimmy and the always engaging Daniel Rigby as Mr Kirkby, the war veteran who helps him through.
Victoria Wood is also responsible for writing all of the music – Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds aside – in the 90-minute film.
“DON’T wake mummy…”
The chilling, disturbing and fascinating series two of The Fall is due to begin on BBC2 next month (November).
As many fans of the drama will know, the premiere screening – hosted by BAFTA – was held at London’s Mayfair Hotel on September 23.
Below is the story I wrote for a national newspaper a few hours after that launch which was used the day after in the hard copy edition and online – the latter behind a paywall.
So for those who were unable to access at the time, here’s that report.
Followed by my transcript of the post-screening Q&A that night involving Jamie Dornan, Gillian Anderson and Allan Cubitt.
“IT was just like getting a fantastic present.
“It’s so rare to find a crime book that’s so beautifully written and so rich and deep and complex.”
Screenwriter Andrew Davies talking about adapting Benjamin Black’s Quirke novels for BBC1.
The first of three 90-minute Quirke film – Christine Falls – was screened at the BFI in London all of 11 months ago in June 2013, followed by a Q&A.
But as is sometimes the way with TV schedules and dramas that don’t fit into neat one hour slots, the start of the series was delayed until now.
With that first Quirke story on BBC1 at 9pm tomorrow (Sunday May 25).
“WE nearly died in there. Doesn’t it make you think?”
Daniel Cotton (Philip Glenister) asks the question of his father Samuel (Bernard Hill) in From There To Here.
The three part BBC1 drama, written by Peter Bowker, opens with the June 1996 Manchester bomb which destroyed a large part of the city centre.
But this is not a story about the IRA attack. It charts the ripples of that initial trigger on two families across Greater Manchester and Cheshire.
Last night I attended a screening of episode one at BAFTA in London followed by a Q&A, including Phil and Pete.
You can read my full transcript below, edited very slightly to remove any major spoilers.
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan.
“THERE’S nothing so dangerous as a headstrong girl who knows her own mind.”
Jessica Brown Findlay is mean, moody and muddy as Mary Yellan in a terrific three-part BBC1 adaptation of Jamaica Inn.
The former Downton Abbey star deserves to shake off all mentions of Lady Sybil and sentences that begin like this one after her dark and brooding performance as Mary.
Screenwriter Emma Frost stays faithful to Daphne du Maurier’s novel while adding her own stamp on the Cornish classic.
With BAFTA award-winning director Philippa Lowthorpe weaving yet more screen magic across three hours of drama.
“SAVING lives, to save their own.”
The Crimson Field begins on BBC1 at 9pm next Sunday (April 6).
A six episode drama series about volunteer British nurses at a field hospital in northern France.
Part of the BBC’s First World War season, it features a strong cast including Hermione Norris, Suranne Jones, Kerry Fox, Oona Chaplin and Kevin Doyle.
Starting in 1915 with the arrival of new VADs – Voluntary Aid Detachment – to join professional military nurses like Matron Grace Carter, played by Hermione.
With Oona as Kitty Trevelyan, Alice St Clair as Flora Marshall and Marianne Oldham as Rosalie Berwick.
Kevin Doyle is Lieutenant-Colonel Roland Brett, the man in charge of the hospital.
But even he has to answer to others higher up the Army command ladder.
“THE world is my patient.”
Meet Frankie, played by Eve Myles.
District nurse, small town heroine and Ken Bruce addict.
Who loves to boogie at any time of the day or night.
The tracks of her years begin on BBC1 at 9pm tomorrow (Tuesday May 14) in a new six-part drama series written by Lucy Gannon.
David Tennant as Aiden Hoynes.
AN invite to the premiere press screening of The Politician’s Husband last Friday night.
Followed by a Q&A with acclaimed writer Paula Milne, whose many credits include White Heat, The Night Watch and The Politician’s Wife.
We were shown the first two episodes, of three in total.
Including terrific performances from David Tennant and Emily Watson.
The series begins on BBC2 at 9pm tonight (Thursday April 25) and comes recommended.
Below is the story I wrote the next morning, which subsequently appeared
here this week.
Followed by my transcript of that Q&A with Paula, hosted by BBC Drama boss Ben Stephenson.
“AND the Doctor’s greatest secret will be revealed.”
Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat speaking at a London press conference last Friday morning.
The content of which was embargoed until now, just after midnight in the early hours of Monday, together with the new pics which also feature on this page.
We were shown The Bells of Saint John – the opening episode of series 7b – written by Steven Moffat.
To be screened on BBC1 and BBC America on Saturday March 30.
The media preview was followed by that Q&A with Matt Smith (the Doctor), Jenna-Louise Coleman (Clara) and Steven Moffat.
You can read my full transcript further down this blog, edited to remove any major spoilers.